Media Magazine

Chatting with a Class 3000 Miles Away—thanks to Skype!

Posted on the 02 May 2012 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

TAKEAWAY: Chatting with a journalism class in Oregon, while I sat at home in Florida: the new ways technology allows us to exchange ideas. 

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They were 18 seniors at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, in a class about magazine editing/design taught by Ed Madison.  I was sitting at home in Florida in my family room.  Skype did the rest.  It would have taken me about five hours by air to travel the more than 3000 miles from Tampa, Florida to Eugene, Oregon, but here we were, exchanging thoughts about the state of the media and what’s important.

The students had smart questions, starting with one that went something like this:

What is the most difficult part of creating a design for a digital platform?

I did not have to think too long about that one: the most difficult task is usually changing the mentality of the editors, even today.  Indeed, I told the students, you will be surprised about the number of working editors who can’t think beyond the “printed” newspaper.

Some still wonder if news should break on digital (I admit that the number of editors who feel that way is getting smaller, but they are still out there).

I am enthusiastic to think that this generation of future journalists engaged in our class via Skype feels positive about the story being carried through various platforms. But, I reminded them: YOU will have to work for a boss who may not share your enthusiasm.

In fact, the questions after that first one centered on the specifics of each platform and how to adapt stories to fit into the media quartet: mobile, online, print and tablet.

Their very own iPad magazine

These students have already produced their first online magazine. It contains some good storytelling , pop up moments, and good content.

Here is the link for the students’ OR Magazine:

Here’s a video that chronicles the work the students did:

Obviously, there is no substitute for the personal contact between professor and students, and among students themselves.  That is unequal in its benefits. However, as my experience today showed, it is also possible to bring views beyond those of the professor into the classroom via Skype and other conferencing possibilities.

Dr. Garcia  provided our students with invaluable insights about the distinctions to consider when creating content for tablets. He dispelled the myth that tablets will kill print—and challenged students to design with all of the senses in mind,’ said Ed Madison, who teaches the class in which I appeared at the University of Oregon.

It is a win win situation for all involved.  I know that I enjoyed my time with the students and learned much from their insights and questions. It is already a fact that we often have at least one person NOT in the room, but appearing via conferencing, when we hold briefings and meetings at various locations globally.

The same has become true for colleges and universities.

As our “class chat” concluded, I felt very positive about taking a peek into how the next generation of journalists thinks: this group considers it totally normal to create stories for various platforms, and the good news is that they did not seem to have a specific alliance to any particular platform.

Their alliance, as I reminded the students, should be to the story.

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Monocle Radio interview

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Check out my appearance in Monocle Radio’s The Culture program with editor Robert Bound. I taped the show a few days ago and it aired int he 30/4 segment:

Where in the world is Mario?

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I am at home in Tampa all of this week: enjoying all that nature I have right outside my back door, with the Hillsborough River as a backdrop; some of the trees in my backyard at 400 years old, and sit on an environmentally protected area of Florida, a swamp, where sometimes the most beautiful birds appear, plus huge turtles, the occasional snake, and, on occasion, sleepy alligators.  But I have a deck that is 10” high so no danger of alligators approaching us!  It is a peaceful and serene setting that I am always happy to come home to.

At home in Tampa, Florida until May 7.

The iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet

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Video walkthrough of the iPad prototype of iPad Design Lab

TheMarioBlog post #1008

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